The abstract ... | Kyle Guest

The abstract on the wall

is of elastic, membranous,

orientable colour: instar of dusklit lakewater

or gold-feathered bird on ice and green night.

A glossy white frame wraps the acrylics

like the skirting that wraps the living

room window opposite. From low a forest

rivers in the painting’s bottom third: a reflection

of trees poured from across the road, in sunlight

cut up by fat fingers of slat-silhouettes.

Blurs of elms tendril the book I read

(on the page, a terrible fish rises toward me).

Ravens hook into me. The reflection is elliptic:

a window-eye lidded by a veranda roof.

It holds me in its palmleaf green iris. There

I daydream a rosella –

one of the chicks that died inside a wall

behind the tv last year – waddles

into frame, struts in eye-

glint on the painting’s glass

sheath. It puffs itself up, ready to shed down

and asbestos fluff, to be an imago, but a cloud

slowly chokes the light. A red puddle congeals

where night siphons dregs of mirror.

Fat strips of black tape

sticky back on a crooked square

we cut out where the wall muffled-chirped.

A few chicklings, orphans, survived.

Now, when the house creaks your dogs lean

over the potted ferns and sniff

the empty frame. (Their ears still prick

up when the air ribs

in two-stroke piston fire). Which warp

of colour draws you

in the painting? I remember the time

you let a ladybug crawl over your hand

onto a marigold. The rosella-dream re

aches through glass; colours shadows

hatched on walls.

Kyle Guest is a Canberran poet, whose work seeks to discover and combine different points of view in a single form to expand a moment’s vision. His poetry has previously appeared in Cordite Poetry Review.

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